Potential Benefits of Analyzing Website Analytic Data

Potential Benefits of Analyzing Website Analytic Data

Elizabeth Votta (Roosevelt University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-611-7.ch047
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Abstract

This article presents an overview of the potential benefits of analyzing website analytic data. During the last several years I have gained first-hand knowledge of Internet marketing programs of a variety of companies ranging from national name brands to small businesses. In addition, I have been active in the local chapter of the American Marketing Association. During this time, it has become clear to me that many small business owners and marketing managers at various size companies lack a basic understanding of the potential benefits of analyzing website analytic data. This article introduces the basics of website analytics and the potential benefits derived from analyzing that data.
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Introduction

This article presents an overview of the potential benefits of analyzing website analytic data. During the last several years I have gained first-hand knowledge of Internet marketing programs of a variety of companies ranging from national name brands to small businesses. In addition, I have been active in the local chapter of the American Marketing Association. During this time, it has become clear to me that many small business owners and marketing managers at various size companies lack a basic understanding of the potential benefits of analyzing website analytic data. This article introduces the basics of website analytics and the potential benefits derived from analyzing that data.

The objectives of this article include:

  • Define the following terms: website analytics, Internet marketing, bounce rate, information architecture, Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and search engine spider.

  • This article presents potential benefits of analyzing website analytic data, including: discovering traffic trends, target market segmentation, developing best practices, optimizing landing pages, and improving conversion rates.

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Background

Currently there is great interest in Internet marketing as Internet usage continues to increase. According to Internetworldstats.com (2009) world Internet usage has grown 338.10% from 2000 to 2008. Internet marketing offers both Business to Consumer (B to C) and Business to Business (B to B) companies a way to drive high-quality, low-cost traffic to their website(s). Internet marketing can include a mix of paid and unpaid media along with website adjustments and strategies to drive quality traffic to a website and improve conversion rates. The Internet marketing mix may include but is not limited to: Pay Per Click (PPC), Search Engine Optimization (SEO), banner advertising, landing pages, link building, and email campaigns.

Internet marketing is continuously evolving and offers substantial website statistical data to develop an understanding of return on investment (ROI) of Internet marketing strategies. It is crucial for companies to monitor their website analytic data and develop a baseline report to continually monitor and have the website evolve based on consumer usage of the site. While a percentage of businesses have embraced Web 2.0 trends, a larger percentage of businesses have not yet successfully harnessed the power of or comprehended Web 1.0. Web 1.0 refers to the first versions of websites that were and are basically online brochures. Web 2.0 refers to a website that has evolved past Web 1.0 and includes consumer-generated-content and/or user reviews that allow website visitors to interact with the site.

Website analytics are programs that capture website user data that can be analyzed to develop an understanding of website trends and website strategy ROI. The information varies depending on the analytic program being used but generally includes the total number of visitors to a site along with other data that can be analyzed for trends. Many analytic programs are available and each has its own list of advantages and disadvantages. The two analytic programs that are used for the purpose of this article are Google Analytics and AW Stats.

Google Analytics (2009) website states: “Use Google Analytics to learn which online marketing initiatives are cost effective and see how visitors actually interact with your site. Make informed site design improvements, drive targeted traffic, and increase your conversions and profits.” An advantage of using Google Analytics is that it is continuously updated to include advanced reporting tools. A disadvantage is that by offering the product for free, Google also has access to the data.

AW Stats (2009) website states: “AW stats is a free powerful and feature full tool that generates advanced web, streaming, ftp or mail server statistics, graphically. This log analyzer works as a CGI or from command line and shows you all possible information your log contains, in few graphical web pages.” An advantage of using AW stats is that it captures the search engine spider visits. A disadvantage is that it is lacks in-depth reporting tools. Search engine spiders are bots (search engine robots) sent from the various search engines to crawl the pages of a website and index the pages based on what they find. It is important to note that search engines do not index a whole website but rather individual pages of a website.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Web 2.0: Web 2.0 refers to a website that has evolved past Web 1.0 and includes consumer generated content and/or user reviews that allow website visitors to interact with the site.

Website Analytics: Website Analytics are programs that capture website user data that can be analyzed to develop an understanding of website trends and website strategy ROI.

Search engine spider: Search engine spiders are bots sent from the various search engines to crawl the pages of a website and index the pages based on what they find.

Bounce: A bounce rate of a website page refers to a visitor that landed on the page and did not click through to any other pages on that website and hence “bounced” out. A high bounce rate is generally not relevant to blogs, but for other websites may indicate that the information presented on the page is not relevant to the user, the page is not organized well, or that the page lacks a clear call to action.

Internet marketing: Internet marketing can include a mix of paid and unpaid Internet media along with website adjustments and strategies to drive quality traffic to a website and/or improve conversion rates. The Internet marketing mix may include but is not limited to: Pay Per Click (PPC), Search Engine Optimization (SEO), banner advertising, landing pages, link building, and email campaigns.

Web 1.0: Web 1.0 refers to the first versions of websites that were and are basically online brochures.

Information architecture: Information architecture refers to the way information is organized on a website. Successful Information Architecture includes information that is easy to find and is arranged in a way that is intuitive to the website visitor.

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